Neologisms Concerning Migration Processes: A Czech Example

  • Tena Šinjori University of Zagreb


In order to describe changes in the lexical system, M. Dokulil used the metaphor of a deep body of water. While down in the deep, nothing is happening, on the surface the water never stops to move, flow, circulate. In Dokulil’s metaphor, the surface layer symbolises those lexical items closely related to social changes: new words and old words whose meaning has changed, or old words that have become elements of new words.

The analysis of neologisms occurring during relevant social changes provides a valuable insight into the users’ attitudes towards contemporary events. This paper deals with neologisms and neosemanticism concerning the migration processes that have taken place in Europe from 2011 to 2018. The neologisms are extracted from Neomat, the database for Czech neologisms. An analysis based on word formation and semantics, supported by papers in Neologizmy v dnešní češtině, is followed by an analysis from a sociolinguistic perspective, relying on the work of V. Dvořáčková, E. Mleziva and the theoretical frame given in the monography of V. Muhvić-Dimanovski.

The focus of this article will be on those words which denote concepts related to the great migrations of our time. The productive formation by employing prefixes meaning pro or contra indicates a social urge to express polar attitudes on the subject. Due to the relevance of migration processes in a global context, lexical and semantical borrowing constitute the most frequent word formation types. The meaning of some stable lexical items has changed due to an increased frequency of use and this is carried out in two opposite ways: by blurring lines between closely related items and by filling empty spaces in order to gain higher levels of precision